Video excellence - Made With Purpose

Tens of millions of views on your video: it’s a marketing manager’s dream. Videos that reach huge audiences can be created, but they’re difficult to do. To truly achieve that rare goal – to ‘go viral’ – your video needs to be extraordinary, and that is extraordinarily difficult to achieve. It’s not impossible, but it requires 3 things: a brilliant idea, the time and effort to plan and make it work, and third, luck.


So how have other people managed it, and what can we learn from them?


Learn to Fly – Foo Fighters Rockin1000 Official Video


One of the most recent examples of an extraordinary commitment to a video was by a group of Foo Fighters fans in Italy. They wanted to attract the band’s attention and encourage them to play a concert in Italy, and so they got together to play and sing a Foo Fighters song together in a field.


1000 musicians all playing the same song – it certainly got Dave Grohl’s attention (he responded saying the band would go to Italy soon) and it also got 22.5million views in two weeks.


How they did it:

Lots of support. The organisers crowdfunded over €44,000 from thousands of supporters, and it took over a year of organising to get to the final event.


What we can learn from it:

Many hands make light work. If you can capture people’s imagination and offer them a chance to be involved in something unusual, your crazy plan might just work.


OK Go – This Too Shall Pass – Rube Goldberg Machine


OK Go are a band more famous for their videos than for their music. They rose to fame with a low-budget video featuring them dancing on treadmills, and every video since has had to be quirkier than the last.


The band’s most popular video, with almost 49million views, is This Too Shall Pass, featuring a Rube Goldberg Machine. It’s a breathtakingly complicated mechanical puzzle featuring 700 objects. Not only is it all shot in one take, you immediately realise from the bands’ paint-splattered clothes that they must have taken several attempts before managing the winning shot.


How they did it:

Lots of resources. The band used team of 60 engineers to help design the set, and had a budget of $90,000. The video took around 60 takes, and each time the machine failed, it took 30 people an hour to reset all the objects.


What we can learn from it:

Sometimes the more obviously difficult and time-intensive something is for you, the more your audience will appreciate it.


Extreme Sheep LED Art

This video seemed to come out of nowhere when it emerged in 2009. A group of mischievous shepherds with their dogs and sheep, creating large-scale living images with their flocks. It’s fun and charming, even when the last shot reveals that it was sponsored by Samsung. To date it’s had 20million views.



How they did it:

The question should really be ‘how did Samsung do it’. Part of the video’s attraction is its amateurishness, and the sense that the film is really just recording a stunt that the shepherds were doing for their own fun. It’s a risky approach for a brand – get it wrong and you risk coming across as inauthentic. But if you’re up front about your involvement – as Samsung are in this video – then it can be a great way for your company to piggyback a great idea.


What we can learn from it:

There are plenty of creative people out there with great ideas. You may have to give up creative control, and of course no results are guaranteed, but if you have the means to sponsor them, you can share in their video success without spending too much.



Great commitment can bring great rewards. Viral videos are very difficult to achieve, but get it right and you’ve won the jackpot. But before you get too carried away, ask yourself: do you really need to go viral?


Although it sounds counter-intuitive, often when you’re planning a video you don’t need a huge number of views. If you’re clear about who your audience is and what you want them to understand from your video, you should just concentrate on reaching those people. Better to have 200 potential customers seeing your video, than 2,000 people who will not have any interest in your company.


Having said that, if you have a fantastic idea and the resources to make it happen, sometimes it’s worth gambling – just remember that the third and most important ingredient for any viral video is luck!